This Day in Death

6.30.14: Director Paul Mazursky – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:41 pm July 7, 2014

PAUL_MAZURSKYA still from Mazursky’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a film where a foursome doesn’t lead to divorce or anyone crying at a 24-hour Arby’s. See? I told you guys that kinda thing can work. All it takes is some clearly established boundaries, lots of trust, and two completely loveless marriages.

 

Potentially DTF writer and director Paul Mazursky passed away last week at the age of 84. Tapping into the sexual zeitgeist of the 70s, Mazursky’s work can arguably be seen as the spiritual forebearer of such modern-day entries into the “Random Fucking as Metaphor for Freedom or Whatever” genre as Spring Breakers, The Canyons and my personal in-the-works screenplay, U Up? (SPOILER ALERT: She was up.)

Mazursky made his writing and directorial debut with 1969’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a movie about two progressive couples dabbling in partner-swapping, presumably with a subplot about a truly reckless overuse of ampersands. Look, I don’t care what filmmakers wanna do in the privacy of their own homes, but when you put it on a poster for everyone to see then to hell with your artistic intentions, you be responsible and use commas. Believe me, I don’t like putting them in any more than you do, but things get pretty run-on sentencey around here in the heat of the moment sometimes. If Hollywood isn’t teaching our kids about proper conjunction usage, where are they gonna learn it from? Man, that got heavy-handed.

The film critic Richard Corliss wrote in New Times in 1978 that Mr. Mazursky had “created a body of work unmatched in contemporary American cinema for its originality and cohesiveness.”

He was, Mr. Corliss said, “likely to be remembered as the filmmaker of the ’70s. No screenwriter has probed so deep under the pampered skin of this fascinating, maligned decade; no director has so successfully mined it for home-truth human revelations.”

Sure, but that’s easy. The 1970s were recent enough that anyone who lived through them without Quaaluding their memories into oblivion could probably cobble together something vaguely profound about the era. The real juice is in films about the sexual decadence and cultural shifts of the 1870s. Think about it: You had Lewis H. Morgan publishing Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, which, hoo boy, I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you, set off a shitstorm in re: his “central theses about social evolution, primitive promiscuity, and group marriage.” That was… interesting, I bet. Also, I think they’re already making an adaptation of the story of how Thomas Edison accidentally sent a phonographic cylinder recording of himself reciting a poem about his taint to President Grant. That looks like it’s gonna be pretty good.

 

Source: The NY Times

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